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WASHINGTON — President Biden’s aides found additional pages of classified information at his Delaware home this week, the White House said on Saturday, bringing the tally to six pages uncovered this week.
The additional pages, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said, were discovered hours after a White House statement on Thursday that cited only one that had turned up in a storage area adjacent to the garage of his Wilmington home. Justice Department employees had gone to retrieve that page, which Mr. Biden’s aides had discovered the night before.
The revelation came as Mr. Biden’s lawyers provided new details about their unfolding discovery over the past two months of classified materials from his time as vice president at his house and an office he used before beginning his 2020 campaign for the White House. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed a special counsel this week to investigate Mr. Biden’s handling of classified materials.
They also defended their decision not to be fully forthcoming about the matter. The White House has been criticized over its public disclosures, including why it did not reveal the discoveries much earlier, and why, when it acknowledged on Monday that some classified files had been found at Mr. Biden’s office on Nov. 2, it had not indicated that more had been found at his house the next month.
Mr. Biden’s lead personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, said in a statement on Saturday that Mr. Biden’s legal team had tried to balance being transparent with “the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigation’s integrity.”
Understand the Biden Documents Case
The discovery at two locations of classified documents from President Biden’s time as vice president has prompted the Justice Department to scrutinize the situation.
He cited multiple rationales: Investigators at the Justice Department could object that identifying witnesses, documents, or events before they completed their inquiry could compromise the information they were gathering. And revealing certain details in public also posed the risk that as more information emerged, earlier statements could prove to be “incomplete.”
Early Thursday, a White House lawyer, Richard Sauber, said in a statement that a single classified document had been discovered a day earlier among stored materials in a room adjacent to the garage.
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That document had been uncovered after Mr. Biden’s lawyers searched the Wilmington house, Mr. Bauer said in his statement. They “left the document where it was found and suspended their search of the specific space where it was located,” he said. The next morning, they notified the Justice Department and began “arranging for the delivery of that material the next day.”
In his statement on Saturday, Mr. Sauber said that Mr. Biden’s personal legal team did not have security clearances, so when they saw the one-page document with classification markings, they cleared the area and did not look further.
Mr. Bauer also issued a timeline that filled in certain additional details.
After Mr. Biden’s personal lawyers discovered Obama-era documents on Nov. 2 in a closet of an office Mr. Biden had used in the Penn Biden Center, the timeline said, the White House notified the National Archives and Records Administration, or NARA, of their discovery, “consistent with statutory requirements.”
For the next eight days, the timeline said, Mr. Biden’s personal lawyers worked the agency until Nov. 10, when the Justice Department informed them that it had launched an inquiry into what happened.
“Once the president’s personal attorneys heard from D.O.J., the president’s personal attorneys were in regular contact with D.O.J.,” Mr. Bauer said.
Notably, some critics have said the Biden team ought to have told the Justice Department itself earlier.